Lockheed GPS Satellite Operational
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Dec. 20 -- The first modernized global positioning system (GPS) satellite featuring additional navigation signals to benefit military and civilian users around the world is operational after on-orbit testing, a joint US Air Force/Lockheed Martin team announced Monday.
Launched on Sept. 25 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., the GPS IIR-14 (M) satellite features a modernized antenna panel that provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and antijamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency.
The satellite was declared operational on Dec. 16 by Air Force Space Command's 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS) at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., which manages and operates the GPS constellation for both civil and military users.
"With this launch, we're truly launching a new era of GPS services for our military and civil users around the globe," said Col. Allan Ballenger, system program director for the Navstar GPS program at Los Angeles Air Force Base. "This modernized satellite will broadcast the first new GPS signals since the GPS constellation became fully operational over a decade ago."
The GPS enables equipped users to determine precise time and velocity and worldwide latitude, longitude and altitude to within a few meters. The information is so accurate that time can be figured to less than a millionth of a second, speed within a fraction of a mile per hour and pinpoint location within a matter of feet.
The modernized navigation systems are being built by ITT in Clifton, N.J. The satellite upgrades, along with final assembly, integration and test, is being performed at Lockheed Martin facilities in Valley Forge, Pa.
The spaceborne network features 24 primary and several backup satellites flying in six orbital groupings. The Air Force continues to launch new satellites as replacements to keep the critical navigation system in good health. There are 28 functioning GPS satellites today, according to the military.
The GPS IIR team is now gearing up for the launch of the second modernized IIR satellite, scheduled for liftoff in early 2006 from Cape Canaveral. Lockheed Martin is under contract to modernize eight IIR satellites for its customer, the Navstar GPS Joint Program Office, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
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